“Krishna is always remembered, and His name is always chanted by millions of devotees, but the devotees never become saturated. Instead of becoming disinterested in thinking of Krishna and in chanting His holy name, the devotees get newer and newer impetus to continue the process.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 22)Download this episode (right click and save)
Time, or kala as it is known in Sanskrit, does not discriminate. It does not operate on only a few individuals. Time keeps moving, like the sands falling from the hourglass. Since it leads to a change in bodies, rebirth is compared to spinning on a wheel. That which time influences is known as the samsara-chakra, or the continuously spinning wheel of suffering.
One indication of time’s influence is the preference in activities. One day I get a new videogame. It’s one I wanted for a long time. I’m so excited to finally have it. I play it for a few days. Since it is really good, the engagement extends out for a few weeks, even. After a while, though, boredom sets in. The game that was previously new becomes old. Something new is now required as a replacement. Bhakti-yoga doesn’t suffer from this defect, and there are several reasons why.
1. Krishna is not old
The beneficiary of bhakti-yoga is God the person. In His complete feature, He is more than an abstract. We can say that God is the origin of everything. This is simply affixing a name to a concept. We know that everything has a beginning, and so the beginning of all beginnings is the topmost person. The Sanskrit term “sarva-karana-karanam” says that God is the cause of all causes.
Since the original person is all-attractive, one way to address Him is Krishna. The all-attractive one descended to this earth in His personal form some five thousand years ago. An interesting thing was observed. He never seemed to grow old. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna counseled Arjuna on how to proceed in a war. Over one hundred years had elapsed since Krishna emerged from the womb of Devaki, but He still looked like a teenager. Despite being God, and thus automatically the oldest person in the world, Krishna maintains the youthful image. In this sense He never gets old.
2. There are always new things to learn about Krishna
I get bored with the videogame because I know everything there is to know. I am so good at it that there is no longer a challenge. With the Supreme Lord Krishna, it is impossible to know Him fully. Recorded history attests to this fact. Every aspect of history is tied to God in some way. As history continues to be written, the glories of God continue to expand.
Then there is the issue of comprehension. After getting bits and pieces of information about Krishna, there should be some processing. “Okay, God is great. But how great? Okay, Krishna is all-attractive, but how beautiful is He really?” The more time a person spends in bhakti-yoga, the more new things they discover about the delight of Vrindavana.
3. There are more realizations with time
In addition to learning new things about Krishna, there are more realizations. We can think of it like finding more ways to relate things we see around us to God. As a simple example, we can take family life. We can love our children so much, but that love is not guaranteed to pay off. Often times, the more things we buy for our children, the more spoiled they become. Though they are everything to us, we may not be everything to them.
In bhakti-yoga, there is the realization that Krishna is the most appreciative person. He is gratefulness personified. He remembers even a single deed done in His honor. Proof of this is seen in the fate of the unsuccessful yogi. If perfect Krishna consciousness is not achieved in a single lifetime, there is no loss. Whatever progress was made gets maintained going forward.
“On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.43)
4. New outlets for service
Perfection in bhakti-yoga can come through nine different avenues. There is hearing. This is the simplest. Just hear about God. The only thing involved is a sacrifice of time. It really isn’t a sacrifice, since the time spent in hearing will be more worthwhile than any other activity.
There is chanting as well. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” There is offering prayers. A person can prepare food items and bring it in front of a representation of the Supreme Lord, the archa-vigraha. Through so many available outlets for service, the less chance there is to get bored.
5. More reciprocation means more pleasure in service
How does a statue reciprocate? How does someone we can’t see acknowledge the receipt of our prayers and offerings? The Supreme Lord rests within every heart as the Supersoul, Paramatma. He provides the reciprocation from within.
“The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are surrendered to Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss enlightening one another and conversing about Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.9)
The more a person advances in bhakti-yoga, the more they realize about the Supreme Lord. They come to understand His unmatched loving nature. Since they get reciprocation, even though not explicitly seeking it, they feel renewed enthusiasm to continue in service.
Though for this game previously to pray,
To something else, no longer wishing to stay.
Bhakti-yoga not following pattern the same,
Ever fresh, like spring season just came.
Since with Krishna always something new,
More learning, contemplation of beautiful hue.
Chant, pray, or take meditation’s seat,
In devotion a way even to transcendentally eat.